Live Lit (Chicago)

2017 RightNow Conference Chicago

In order for an object to shine, pressure, stress, and change is required. We want to shine brightly, but typically avoid pressures and changes. Within the fire we are refined, purified, and enabled to shine. In this 30-minute session from the 2017 RightNow Conference in Chicago, Bianca Juárez Olthoff exhorts believers with the reminder that God walks with us through the fire. It is in the midst of suffering, pressure, and change that we experience Him and are freed by Him.

Bianca Juárez Olthoff is a speaker and author of Play with Fire: Discovering Fierce Faith, Unquenchable Passion, and a Life-Giving God. Passionate about God's Word, she teaches around the globe and on her blog about life, love, and the pursuit of Jesus. 

As you watch this session, take notes and write down thoughts about how this session can impact your ministry. 

Even when we do not understand His ways, God is able and faithful. What is intended for evil toward us, God uses for our good. The fire will not consume us, but refine us. 

Reflect upon your own life. Do you embrace pressure, stress, or change? Or do you go out of your way to avoid it and preserve your own comfort?
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Each of us want to shine brightly. But in order to shine like a diamond or a star, pressure, stress, and change is required. Yet we typically want to avoid those uncomfortable things! 

Is it a mindset-shift to see pressure, stress, or change as a means by which we are refined? How does that idea change your perspective?
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Think back on a season where you were under pressure or experienced suffering. How did God use that experience to mold and shape you? How were you transformed?
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In the book of Daniel, we read about a culture that attempted to change the identity of three of God’s servants—Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. They were given new names that undermined their heritage, and barraged with messages that were designed to lead them to other gods. Our culture today is not drastically different, but rather, strikingly similar. 

In our culture, the media, marketing, and music are constantly attempting to shift our identity and narrative. What messages are you aware of that influence your view of yourself? Of others? Of the story in which you live?
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Do you need to be reminded of your true identity? What are some practical ways you could bathe your mind and soul in truth?
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What identity has God given you? How is this contrary to what the world screams at you?
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The enemy knows your name and calls you by your sin. But God knows your sin and calls you by your name. 

How might the enemy be using your sin or past to condemn you?
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Romans 8:1 (ESV)

Life in the Spirit

1There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

According to Romans 8, what does God say about you? How does this break the power of the enemy’s and the world’s messages?
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Bianca referenced the many little idols we set up for ourselves. Whether materialism, a credit card, alcohol, gossip, sex, appearance, we turn to little gods who have no power to deliver us. 

What God have you set up for yourself? Has it offered you any real deliverance?
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How might you begin to tear it down and turn to serve the true God?
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Bianca shared that our relationship with God isn't about us—if we treat Him like a genie who gives us what we want, we do not have an actual relationship with Him. 

Examine your relationship and interaction with God. Do you go to Him merely to get what you want? How has selfishness played a role in your relationship with Him?
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“And if not, He is still good.” This phrase in Daniel shows the Hebrew men’s devotion to God for who He is, not for what He would do for them. Do you trust God to be good, even when He does not operate according to your own desires? Explain.
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Often, the very things we thought would kill us turned out to be the instrument of God’s deliverance. There is tremendous hope when we rest in the promise that God will use everything for our good. 

Have you experienced suffering or a trial that God used to deliver or free you? Have you walked through a loss that freed you from idolatry or anxiety? Reflect on God’s work in your life.
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Bianca's last point was that God receives all the glory. What does it look like to give the glory to God? How could you glorify God this week?
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God is faithful to use all our suffering for our good. He will be with us in the fire, and cause us to shine brightly for Him. 

For more information about the RightNow Conference, or to find out how to attend next year’s event, visit

For more from Bianca Juárez Olthoff, see her series The Book of Ruth, or visit